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NFL Rumors: Predicting Where The Top Five Available Free-Agent Running Backs Might Land

While quarterbacks will get the bulk of the attention in free agency, there’s a handful of stellar running backs that are slated to become available. Let’s take a closer look at where the top five available might land.
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NFL Rumors: Predicting Where The Top Five Available Free-Agent Running Backs Might Land

1. Leonard Fournette: Miami Dolphins

The top free-agent running back to hit the market, Fournette was a key piece of a Buccaneers offense that won a Super Bowl just two seasons ago. With Tom Brady gone, however, a rebuild is likely just around the corner, something the veteran Fournette likely won’t want to be a part of. 

With more than enough cap space and in desperate need of a new identity, I think the Dolphins make a ton of sense for Fournette who has played his entire career in Florida. 

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2. Melvin Gordon: Los Angeles Rams

With his contract up in Denver, Gordon will likely be on the move as the future looks like Javonte Williams at RB. In what will be his eighth season, however, Gordon is the back he used to be with what feels like one maybe two years left in his “prime.”

With Sonny Michel likely on the move from the Rams, Gordon would make a great RB2 alongside Cam Akers. The ability to sign with an instant contender would also be attractive for a veteran in Gordon with limited playoff experience.

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3. Cordarrelle Patterson: Miami Dolphins

One of the most versatile players in the league, Patterson is essentially an RB/WR and coming off the best season of his career with more than 1,100 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns. His great season likely makes him too expensive for a Falcons team with problems throughout their roster. 

The Dolphins, however, have a ton of cap space and are in desperate need of an offensive threat to pair up with WR1 Jaylen Waddle. With Tua Tagovailoa now the guy at QB, Patterson would make a great out of the backfield option for what will surely be a fast-paced offense. If they land Fournette as well, the Dolphins backfield becomes a problem for defenses on day one.

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4. Sonny Michel: San Francisco 49ers

With a healthy Cam Akers back as RB1 in Los Angeles (Rams), Michel could very well be on the move. Consistency, however, has been an issue for the 5th year player, as he’s largely been in a two-running back system in LA and before that in New England.

With Elijah Mitchell, the head man in San Francisco, Michel could provide a strong RB2 as Raheem Mostert is expected to depart in free agency. 

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5. James Conner: Buffalo Bills

After being drafted by the Steelers in 2016, Conner became the de facto starter in 2018 before dealing with a rash of injuries and a poor offensive line. Then came the move to Arizona in 2021, the best season of his career finishing with 18 total touchdowns and more than 1,000 all-purpose yards.

While they're a pass-first team, the Bills make a lot of sense for Conner who has great hands for the position. Their propensity to pass will also keep his touches down, likely keeping him healthier throughout the season.

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Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping games for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as All-In Magazine, Blitz Predict, FantasyPros, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, and most recently, OddsChecker. In addition to giving out picks on Twitter, Johnny is the host of the podcast The Daily Sports Bet -- a 10 minute or less listen with actionable insights and no fluff or BS. Starting the podcast in June, he closed out 2021 up 26 units with a winning percentage of 55%.


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